How To Choose A Wok Pan: A Complete Guide
A wok pan is a popular kitchen tool used when cooking Chinese cuisine. However, it is a versatile tool you can use in many food preparations. A wok is a deep, bowl-shaped pan used for stir-frying. One feature of this kitchen tool is it spreads heat evenly. So you’ll have a quicker cooking time. Also, it's deeper than the regular frying pan, so you’ll need less oil when frying. Some people also use a wok pan to steam food by placing a bamboo steamer. If you’re planning on purchasing your first wok pan, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know. This guide will teach you how to choose a wok pan so that you can enjoy your cooking time even more.
Types of Wok Pan
Wok pans vary in sizes, features, and materials used. One significant aspect to consider on how to choose a wok pan is the wok material. Here are the most common materials used in making wok pans:
- Stainless Steel
Most kitchen devices utilize stainless steel due to its rust and stain-resistant properties. However, using stainless steel for a wok pan might not be ideal. First of all, this type of woks is too heavy, making it uncomfortable to use. Also, stainless is not a good conductor of heat, so it takes more time to heat the wok. Stir-fry is a quick meal choice that is easy to prepare. Using a stainless steel wok will only prolong your cooking time. Also, meat tends to stick to stainless, which can be troublesome.
- Cast Iron
Cast iron is another common material used in making wok pans. Although slightly better than stainless steel due to its natural nonstick feature, it’s also not very efficient in heating up. Also, a thin cast iron wok pan can be a bit fragile to use. Some users experienced their wok pan cracking while being used. On the other hand, a thick cast iron wok can be heavy to flip when stir-frying.
- Carbon Steel
The best wok pans are usually made with carbon steel. This material is a great heat conductor and also spreads the heat evenly. Carbon steel is a durable material made to last long. Stir-frying with meat won't be an issue since it also has nonstick features. Generally, the 14-gauge carbon steel wok pans are the best in thickness and ease of use.
What Wok to Buy
How to choose a wok pan can be a bit overwhelming because of the vast array of choices available for you to choose from. However, before deciding what wok pan to purchase, here are crucial features to look for in a reliable and decent wok pan.
Wok pans can either have a flat or round bottom. What to choose depends on the type of stove or cooker you have. Electric stoves require a flat bottom wok since round-bottom ones tend to reflect the heat back, which can cause damage to your stove. Also, round bottom wok pans might not feel sturdy over the coils of an electric stove. However, if you have a gas stove, go for a round bottom one.
Wok pans come in many sizes, both for commercial and residential use. The size you choose depends on your personal needs. If you are planning on putting up a restaurant, you might need the bigger ones. However, medium to small size wok pans are ideal for home use.
Traditionally, wok pans have two metal handles on the sides for easy lifting and transport. However, modern flat bottom woks now utilize long wooden handles, aside from helper side handles, for convenient stir-frying. Round-bottom woks nowadays either have the traditional side handles or a long metal or wood handle.
A wok with a lid gives you more convenience, especially when cooking Chinese food. Since some dishes will need time to simmer, a lid definitely will come in handy. When used for steaming food, a lid is essential to make sure the heat is evenly distributed.
Once you've learned how to choose a wok pan wisely, the next thing to know is wok pan maintenance. This extends the life of your wok, giving you more time to enjoy it. Oiling your wok before using it for the first time can help clean it and eliminate manufacturer preservatives. Also, it helps prevent corrosion and rust build-up. After each use, make it a habit to clean your wok thoroughly before storing it. Here's how to learn more about wok pans.
Using a wok pan when cooking has many benefits. Thus, purchasing one will prove to be beneficial in the long run. However, always keep in mind the aspects to consider on how to choose a wok pan. They will guide you in getting the best wok pan suited for your cooking needs.